Second quarter sewer billings may be higher for those with high discretionary water use during the quarter. Water conservation has become an increasing concern, especially in our immediate area. The U of MN Extension Service states that lawn irrigation activities should commence in early July in this area based on typical weather patterns. Second quarter irrigation activity should not be substantial if these guidelines are followed.
Additional causes for a higher than usual bill may be an irrigation leak, water softener, leaky faucet or fixtures, leaky or running toilet, or recent change in water usage.
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Quarterly sewer charge is calculated using a base charge plus usage. Minimum basis for charge is 6,000 gallons regardless of water use. The usage is based on water consumption for the quarter.
The charge for the third quarter may be adjusted to address irrigation water use. Recognizing that the third quarter has always been the highest water-using quarter, primarily due to irrigation activities, sewer charges for this quarter will be based on water usage during the second and third quarters. The lower water usage of these two quarters will be the basis for sewer charges in the third quarter.
When turning your irrigation system on in the spring – check the run schedule. Make sure the run schedule matches the City’s odd/even Sprinkling Policy. If an irrigation company turns on your system, double check that the run schedule is set properly. Most run schedules are set for very early morning and may be running when you don’t want/need watering to take place. Most modern irrigation systems can be programmed with a rain sensor.
Keep in mind, an odd/even watering schedule is a helpful way to organize water use in the City, but in rainy weeks your lawn will likely not require watering. Visit our Watering Tips page for best practices on conserving water. For more tips on how you can conserve water in your home, visit the Minnesota DNR website and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.
Customers who feel the need for heavy discretionary water usage have the option of installing a separate irrigation meter as many of our commercial customers have done. Water flowing through these meters is not subject to sanitary sewer charges as this water does not enter the sanitary sewer system.
Installing an irrigation meter involves the purchase of a separate meter, radio and installation. Meters may be purchased from the city and installed by a plumber of your choice. The total cost of the install is dependent on individual circumstances and the plumbing company used. A permit must be obtained from the city to ensure correct installation of the meter and the radio read hardware. The current cost of a ¾” meter and radio is $250.08. The installation cost varies depending on installation-specific characteristics.
For more questions on getting an irrigation meter, please contact City Hall at 651-204-6000.